Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Four)
Time for this week’s instalment from SOERDITCH, Diary of a Neighbourhood, Adam Dant’s acerbic cartoon satire of the culture of our dearly-beloved Shoreditch – each picture a beautifully rendered view of the neighbourhood , captioned with a clueless thing overheard on the street.
“There’s a naked man asleep in here!” … “Ooh! Do you think it’s ‘a piece’?”
“Sweet Jesus, there you are! When you told me the name of this place I thought I was looking for an Irish pub …”
“The flat’s so bloody small, I’m starting to worry that Simon’s getting that stupid ‘let’s build a platform to sleep on’ look … ”
“Yeah, living in Roma … is okay, but … here in Shoreditch … is much nicer.”
“What are you two doing?” … “We’re watching that old building there and waiting for it to fall down.”
“Do they let dogs in this place?” … “Oh, they let anything in anywhere round here!”
“Do you know anything about art? … Someone graffitied my garage door last night, I thought it might be worth something!”
“Miss … Miss, my grandad still wants to know when he can come in for our History project to talk about his memories from when he was friends with Oswald Mosley & his blackshirts.”
” I suppose one man’s ‘stinking banana warehouse’ is another man’s ‘luxury loft’.”
“You can almost feel the presence of Ben Jonson & Shakespeare in these streets can’t you?”
“I picked up the wrong box of aerosols in the dark … these are your mum’s air fresheners.”
“Ooh listen! … Is that a magpie?” … “No, I think it’s that homeless guy over there, retching.”
Soerditch is the old name for Shoreditch, quoted by the historian John Stow in his Survey of London 1598, as “so called more than four hundred yeares.” It means sewer ditch, in reference to the spring beside Shoreditch Church, once the source of the lost River Walbrook which flowed from there towards the City of London.
Drawing from a pair of unlikely inspirations, namely Giles‘ cartoons for the Daily Express and Hiroshige‘s ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,’ Adam Dant pulls off an astonishing sleight of hand – simultaneously portraying the urban landscape of Shoreditch with spare lines and flat tones that evoke the woodcuts of Hiroshige, while also satirising the manners and mores of the people through witty social observations in the manner of Giles.
The exhibition runs at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery until 26th April and all one hundred and twenty-five cartoons are published in an album with an introduction by Jarvis Cocker, produced in the style of Giles’ celebrated annuals and available to buy online from Spitalfields Life Shop.
Click here to buy your copy of SOERDITCH by DANT – Diary of a Neighbourhood (125 Views of Shoreditch) – while stocks last!
Cartoons copyright © Adam Dant
Adam Dant is represented by Hales Gallery
You may also like to see these earlier selection of cartoons by Dant